Rikon Mini Lathe – Safe Operation
Before the shavings start to fly, here are some important safety tips and answers to common questions.
What safety rules should I follow?
- Always unplug the lathe before changing centers/chucks/bits, making adjustments or performing maintenance.
- Not only do sharp tools yield better results, they’re safer to use.
- A full face shield is highly recommended; safety glasses offer inadequate protection from the large volume of flying debris.
- We also advise using a dust mask when turning, not just sanding. When finishing, be sure to use an organic vapor respirator. Safety shoes will help protect you from a dropped tool.
- Be aware of the “line of fire” and position yourself to the side when turning on the lathe.
How do I operate the tool rest?
The tool rest has two control levers; the large handle locks the banjo to position the rest along the lathe bed, and the gyratory handle locks the tool rest at a specific angle to the work and height.
Where should I position the tool rest?
There are many variables for positioning the tool rest, depending on the work and what tool you are using. Frequent repositioning is needed, either to give better access to the work or because its diameter has changed.
The cutting edge of the tool should be at the center line of the work, which means setting the rest height slightly below it. The rest needs to support the tool fully but not be so close that you don’t have enough room to maneuver or it leads to a catch. About 1/2" is right for many situations. In spindle work, the rest should be parallel to the axis of the spindle. When roughing from square, ensure the corners of the blank clear the rest.
How do I know what speed setting I should use?
The manual has an excellent chart (reproduced below) with recommended speeds for different operations with various sizes of work. Changing speeds is straightforward; you simply move the drive belt between pulleys, referencing the chart on the access cover.
|Diameter of Work||Roughing RPM||General Cutting RPM||Finishing RPM|
|2 to 4"||750||1600||2480|
|4 to 6"||510||1080||1650|
|6 to 8"||380||810||1240|
|8 to 10"||300||650||1000|
|10 to 12"||255||540||830|
|12 to 14"||220||460||710|
|14 to 16"||190||400||620|
How do I adjust the tailstock?
Like the tool rest, the tailstock slides along the bed of the lathe and locks with a handle. Bring the live center into position so its tip just contacts the work. Loosen the gyratory wrench and turn the handwheel until the cup of the live center is slightly embedded in the workpiece. Excessive force isn’t required, just enough to support the work effectively.
In the next tutorial, we’ll give you some tips on how to keep you lathe in good working order and offer suggestions for next steps.